Baronet fails to stop estranged mother selling family silver
Tuesday 28 September 2004
A dispute which has divided one of Britain's oldest families reached a bitter climax yesterday with the sale of the entire contents of a stately home.
More than 800 lots acquired over half a millennium, including the most complete collection of family portraiture in Anglo-Irish history, were sold at auction on the orders of dowager Lady Marion Langham against the express wishes of her son, the 16th baronet, Sir John.
The two fell out in a row over a glasshouse on the estate of Tempo Manor, near Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.
In an attempt to escape inheritance tax, Sir John's father, Sir James Langham, who died three years ago, had gifted the contents of the Victorian manor house to his estranged wife Lady Marion, 64, who lives in a bungalow in the grounds with her French partner. The estate itself went to his eldest son who lives in the six-bedroom manor with his wife Lady Sarah and their family. Mother and son are no longer on speaking terms and have become embroiled in a public slanging match. Both attended the sale at Slane Castle, Co Dublin, yesterday.
Sir John, who is desperate to keep the collection of paintings, furniture, royal and botanical ephemera together, was trying to buy back some of the pieces. He paid €18,360 (£12,500) for a 19th century portrait by John James Masquerier of his ancestor Sir James Hay Langham. Estimates of the value of the sale reached in excess of €1.5m.
The star of the auction was a portrait of Sir James Langham, the 7th baronet, by the 18th century painter Francis Cotes which trebled its estimate to fetch €300,000. It was bought by Richard Green, a Bond Street art dealer.
Sir John, 43, a web designer, has been quoted as saying he will not speak to his mother for "as long as a I live". The family moved to the 300-acre estate set among woodland and rivers in Co Fermanagh 150 years ago, after selling the family seat of Cottesbrooke Hall in Northamptonshire - which was said to be the inspiration for Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.
The family fortune was earned by the original Sir John who dominated the spice trade and was an ally of Charles II during the Restoration.
A message on the Tempo Manor website yesterday revealed the depth of the rancour: "We are saddened to report that Marion Lady Langham has now removed the contents of Tempo Manor for auction. As custodian of the contents, she feels constrained, for personal financial reasons, to sell these historic family portraits and other artefacts ... These family treasures have been held in trust for generations; their removal means that, tragically, this generation will be the last to enjoy them in their entirety."
Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
Oscar Pistorius trial: Photographs of Paralympian splattered in blood shown in court
Seth Rogen compiles list of all the celebrities he’s got high with
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Satellite ‘pings sent five hours after contact was lost' the only clue in hunt for £160m plane
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: New radar evidence suggests missing plane may have been hijacked
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
- 3 Saving a crushed egg with tape and glue: Why you should care about the kakapo
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 5 Lady Gaga has struggled with eating disorders in the past, so it's indefensible that she's glamourising bulimia in her SXSW set
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...